Book reviews / Fantasy

Book review: The Sword in the Stone

This was supposed to be about The Once and Future King but I can’t get into the next book. It feels entirely nonsensical but also just really dull.

The Sword in the Stone was entertaining enough, though it did entirely have that feeling that the author didn’t even remotely entertain the idea that women or girls would want to read the book. Let’s say charitably, that it didn’t pass the test. I wouldn’t say it’s super sexist, just that it has an absence of women in it (there are a couple but they barely get a few pages).

I still quite liked it, though it was a bit whimsical for my liking and I wasn’t quite prepared for the surreal bits. Merlyn is living backwards through time, so he sometimes mentions modern things but then so do many of the other characters which makes no sense.

I kept on mentally comparing it to the Disney version (I think Disney probably took all the best bits). Sometimes when Wart was being changed into yet another random animal, I just rolled my eyes. I mean, what was the point with the whole badger episode?

Being unable to get into the next books is somewhat infuriating, given that I managed to get through bloody Cryptonomicon. However, there’s just not enough context for everything that the characters are doing. There’s a whole other thread of characters that we get introduced but they:

  • seem to just be children
  • just ask about stories a lot

They’re confused about what is going on all the time and therefore I’m confused all the time. Then it jumps to Arthur being absolutely thick. That was entertaining when he was about 12 but now he’s about 25 and still a bit of an idiot. It’s too whimsical for me to want to follow, basically.

Also, given the start, with all the women being basically evil (in the first chapter, one boils a cat alive) I don’t think I’m going to like it as much. It very much carries on with the boys own adventure feel and so it does nothing for me.

Anyway, maybe I’ll try again later.

3/5 stars for the Sword in the Stone anyway.

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